Relationships should be violence-free and filled with respect, equality, honesty, communication, support and trust—and in February, Americans across the country are trying to teach teens exactly that.
February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month and this month, Operation for HOPE joins others in urging teens and parents to take a closer look at their relationships to ensure we or someone we love are not victims.
Unfortunately, we hear reports daily about domestic violence but it isn't often that these reports include those impacted by teen dating violence. Teen dating violence statistics show one in four adolescents reports verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse each year, 70 percent of girls and 52 percent of boys who are abused report an injury from an abusive relationship and one in five high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Violence and abuse suffered by the hands, actions, or words of another can range tremendously, so knowing the signs of an unhealthy relationship can help to prevent you or someone you love from becoming a victim.
But voices can end violence and here are some red flag warning signs everyone can be on the lookout for:
- Are you secretive or apologetic about your partner’s actions?
- Do you not care about the things that you enjoyed in the past?
- Are you isolated and not socializing with friends or family members?
- Do you try to cover up bruises, scratches or marks with clothing or make up?
- Are you quiet, defensive or make light of the situation when mentioning a partner’s violent behavior?
- Is your partner verbally abusive by belittling you in front of others?
- Does your partner act insecure or jealous of others or possessive of the relationship?
- Does your partner try to brainwash you against or keep you from family members?
- Does your partner manipulate or control your time by constantly stalking you through social media, calling, texting and demanding to know who you have been with?
- Does your partner exhibit angry behavior, violent temper or throwing and breaking objects?
If you live in fear because someone is or has threatened to harm you or someone you love, these behaviors are not your fault and not OK. To reduce risks and to understand what’s happening, act now to seek safety and assistance. Find resources at operationforhope.org.